Comic Essay (エッセイ漫画) | Finding Joy in the Mundane - A Journaling Idea From Japan

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Comic Essay (エッセイ漫画) | Finding Joy in the Mundane - A Journaling Idea From Japan

One day on a business trip to Japan, imagine my surprise when I met a Japanese person who hadn't heard about Naruto! 🤯

When I got to stay there for a couple of years, I realized that anime and manga that we see outside Japan are only a fraction of what anime and manga really is.🤔 

One of my favorite discoveries is called Essay Manga or Comic Essay.🤓 

Never heard of it before? It's different from the usual plot driven stories we see in main stream manga. Instead, the stories tell of people's everyday lives as they experienced them and how they thought and felt through them. 

I bought this funny book titled "A Chinese Wife and an Otaku Husband" (please don't judge me 😂🙏) and needless to say I found it amusing and very interesting. I labored through the Japanese text because for the life of me, I was curious. (Sometimes all you need to level up your language skills is to read or watch something fun💁‍♀️). 

There was no grand plot to look forward to. Only the everyday and seemingly mundane that was brought to life through the eyes of the manga artist. To have a sneak peek of what his everyday life story is like as a manga artist married to a Chinese bride and the hilarious and often cute cultural differences they had and how they coped with them. 

💁‍♀️It made me see that although there are plot driven like stories in our lives that span years to tell from start to finish, they are more than that. 

☝️More importantly, our lives are made up of each present day that we get to live in love💝, that we get to choose joy💛 over worry, that we get to spend in sadness🖤 and happiness❤️ and everything in between💚 with all the people we care about. Every new day is never "just another day". 

So if you've been feeling like you're just going through the motions or you just have to accept what you've been handed in life, why don't you try telling your slice of life story? Even if it's just to yourself (think journaling). ☺️ I think you'll find that you enjoy this life more than you know. 

To make it easier for you, and in the spirit of Essay Manga style, I've made this Illustrated Life Story Journal printable you can grab for free through this link. (Go through check out to download it free). It's a bullet journal, planner, diary, and of course a taste of illustrating your life story without drawing. (Do I see 💡 going off? 😅)

It helps you tell the story of your life in writing and illustration (so you don't have to read through pages and pages of text later on when you're reminiscing). Elbow grease is yours.😉 Here's my Comic Essay quick guide on it.

How to Illustrate your life story without drawing

If this all seems daunting to you, be assured that making one doesn't have to be. Here's one I made that's as simple as it gets.

A journal page using a colored in character from the Illustrated Life Story Journal printable

Here's the process for coloring her in. She's one of many expressions you can choose from. If you love coloring and journaling, you'll definitely don't want to miss out on this printable.

💕I hope you find not only a new way to look at your every day life but that your story is the story only you can tell and it deserves to be told because there is someone out there that needs to hear it. (In my case, I imagine my little girl would love it). 

"The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life."

- Jesus (John 10:10 NLT)


Pinnable Essay Manga Journaling image